The Indian Air Force’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has conducted the maiden flight of a flying wing combat drone technology demonstrator.
The aircraft took off from the Aeronautical Test Range, Chitradurga, Karnataka on July 1, 2022. Its flight and landing were fully autonomous and went smoothly, according to a DRDO press release.
According to earlier reports, the demonstrator, called SWiFT (Stealth Wing Flying Testbed), has a wingspan of 5 meters (16 feet). It is designed to test various technologies intended for eventual use on the DRDO Ghatak, a domestically manufactured combat drone.
The SWiFT was built by DRDO’s Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), with most of the aircraft’s components produced in India.
While there is little information on the characteristics of Ghatak, its full-scale prototype is expected to start flying in 2025 following the completion of SWiFT’s extensive testing program.
The aircraft is expected to be similar to the Lockheed Martin RQ-170 Sentinel and the Sukhoi S-70 Okhotnik, as well as other flying wing reconnaissance and combat drones with stealth characteristics.